Catholic prelates following the Church of England's vote on women bishops

2014-07-15 L’Osservatore Romano

“The Catholic Church remains wholly committed to the dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the objective of ecumenical dialogue continues to be that of a full and visible ecclesial communion”. These were the introductory words of the statement by the Catholic Episcopate of England and Wales with regard to the opening of the Church of England to women bishops. A decision which, undeniably – still highlighted by Catholic prelates – represents “a further obstacle” on the path of this desired unity, for which, they pledge, the work will nevertheless continue .

On Monday afternoon, 14 July, the General Synod of the Church of England, which convened in York, voted in favour of the episcopal ordination of women, a decision defined by many as historic. “A great adventure of rebirth and, at the same time, of disagreement begins”. Our challenge will be to deal with divisions and continue to love those who oppose this decision. Few institutions manage”, said Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, commenting on the outcome of the vote. The statement by the Primate of the Anglican Communion – one of the staunchest supporters of female episcopal ordination – illustrates how troubled the process leading up to the final decision has been. “As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote,” he said, “I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.”